An important theme of Advent and Christmas is the light of Christ overcoming the darkness. We see this beginning on Advent Sunday with the wonderful collect which asks “give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light.” We will see it again in the Gospel of John on Christmas Day that proclaims “the light shineth in the darkness.”
Yet long before I’ve heard these words, well before I came to faith even, I instinctively knew light was important to Christmas.
For I’ve always loved Christmas lights. I can remember my mom and I driving around just to look at the lights on people’s houses. I can remember my mom letting me have my own tree in my room. (I loved Christmas trees, too.) I would go to sleep happily looking at it all lit up. (Due to my terrible childish taste, it also had red flocking on it, but anyway . . . ) I loved looking at Christmas lights. And they gave me a warm feeling somehow.
I’m much older now. But Christmas lights still comfort me. The other night, my place was darker and lonelier than I liked. But I turned on some lights I have strung up. And I just felt better.
What’s funny is I find myself getting a little more into Christmas lights each year. I slow down to look at them when I drive. And my display is getting a little more elaborate every year. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those who spends hours and hours trying to outdo the neighborhood with his lights, but who knows.
I think one reason I’ve been getting more into Christmas lights and into Christmas itself is I appreciate more and more Jesus being the light of the world. And I find myself getting more emotional about it and about the celebration of it.
Whether or not the time of Christ’s birth was a dark cold night in the dead of winter, it’s right that we celebrate his advent during this darkest time of year. For light shines brightest in the darkness. And he is the light that comforts us in our darkness that can be so cold. His advent dispels our darkness and gives us comfort, warmth, and life with his humble yet glorious light.
Have a blessed and merry Christmas.